Dohn adds another success to its growing list of academic and athletic accomplishments. One hundred percent of teacher Pieter Elmendorf’s students eligible for January 2018 graduation passed the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). Elmendorf, a teacher of 43 years, has not heard of a 100% success rate before.
To reach this level of success, Elmendorf says, “You identify the students’ learning style, and from there you craft how best to teach them.” “My first step,” he says, “is to discover what they know. It is tough to academically coach if you do not know what they already know. Then I attack what they don’t know.”
“It does not come easily to these kids,” Elmendorf explains, “they have repeatedly failed in other academic settings. This year, they studied hard, and they all passed with significant scores.” Pieter Elmendorf
This year, Elmendorf teaches two cohorts of students at Dohn. He is the teacher for Dohn Prep, a program for gifted student-athletes in need of academic enrichment. He also teaches students in Dohn’s Success program. Success students are high school dropouts between the ages of 18 and 22 years. Every one of Elmendorf’s students, Prep and Success, was given up on by other school systems, other teachers, or failed so many times that they gave up on themselves.
“It does not come easily to these kids,” Elmendorf explains, “they have repeatedly failed in other academic settings. This year, they studied hard, and they all passed with significant scores.”
Addressing reading comprehension is core to his teaching plan. If the student does not understand what each question asks, the student cannot answer correctly. Increased self-confidence is a result of increased reading comprehension.
Transforming Resistance into Success
Even though positive results motivate, a string of previous academic failures develops habits of resistance. Dohn’s exceptional teacher, Elmendorf, turns this resistance around by building on small successes; resistance becomes compliance, and compliance turns into success.
Elmendorf has a caring presence. His teaching style is steeped in patience, kindness, and wisdom. As a teacher, he sees impediments and removes them. Once the path to success is clear, Elmendorf brings home the message that “Every day you miss is a day you do not get back.” This first semester leaves Elmendorf gratified and, to Dohn’s delight, reconsidering a planned retirement at the end of this academic year.
For the past eight years, Elmendorf has taught dropout recovery students. He has six years’ experience in collegiate coaching. This extensive skill set helped him convey to students –teenagers—the gravity of their situation. His students responded with focused study and acceptance of their academic responsibilities.
A Success Combo of Might and Bright
This rare success of 100% pass rate also required the unobstructed vision of Dohn’s Director, Ramone Davenport. He put all moving pieces together in ways that make alternative education work. There are prep programs on the East Coast and in the South. Dohn’s Prep Program is the first of its kind in the Ohio Valley. At Dohn, academic success balances with athletic success; as of this writing, Dohn Prep basketball, under the leadership of Coach Villegas, has a 9-1 record.
This first year of Dohn’s Prep Program welcomed a student from Portland, Oregon and a student from Nashville, Tennessee. Both of these students passed all five batteries of OGT tests on the first try. One of these students scored a 479 on the science test, which Elmendorf reports “I have not ever seen a score like that on the science test in all of my years at Dohn.”
A Dohn Success student aced the math, science and social studies sections of the test, which Elmendorf identifies as “the most difficult.”
This high level of academic success leaves parents in tears. They have longed to witness their promising students achieve academic success, despite years of previous failure.
“We prepare them for the test, we teach them test taking methodology, and we communicate trust and confidence. The students take the test, and it is out of our hands. What comes next is beyond our control.”
“Despite no control over the outcome, we fight the good battle for each student.” All of this semester’s Dohn Prep students are now eligible for graduation, and for athletic scholarship consideration.
Dohn consistently meets and exceeds Ohio Department of Education Standards for graduation. While traditionally identified as a dropout recovery school, Dohn is becoming a school of first choice for urban academics and athletics in Cincinnati. Our Prep Program is on the national map for academically challenged students who also have athletic skills that deserve significant scholarship exposure.
Contact us to learn more about Dohn Community High School, or Dohn Prep Program.